Brydie is the head trainer, owner and behaviour consultant at the Dog Education Centre. Located in Albury Wodonga the centre caters and cares for around 350 dogs per week ranging from puppies to adult dogs.
“I originally got started training when I got my first dog as an adult. He was a rescue pup with some issues and not knowing what I was doing, I unintentionally made them worse. After seeking much advice, talking to trainers and behaviourists and spending lots of time studying, I finally fixed him. This process really inspired me to learn and to help others that were in the same position as me. As well as training dogs, I’m also heavily involved with rescue work, educating kids about bite prevention and providing dog training from different dog specialists from all over Australia”
In this series we are working with Brydie and her team of dog behaviour specialists to help educate dog owners on dog behaviour, what’s normal, what’s not and how to best train, intervene and most importantly understand their dogs behaviour.
Its not bad mouthing or potty mouthing, mouthing is a natural behaviour for puppies. When they’re exploring, playing and investigating all manner of new and interesting things, and for most puppies everything around them is new and interesting; they will use their mouths much like human babies who put everything they find into their adorable chubby gobs.
All puppies use mouthing in their early days and when playing with you and other humans they’ll often chew and bite. This does not mean your puppy is aggressive however it is a behaviour we need to curb and discourage as they move out of the puppy stage. Ultimately we want to train our puppy to stop mouthing and biting people. Setting this as a training goal is an excellent opportunity to teach a puppy that people have sensitive skin and being gentle is the way forward.
You’ve done it, taken the plunge and today you bring your new puppy home. The feeling is intense, like a new baby, you think about all the joy this petite life is going to bring into your home. His little wet nose, soft fluffy puppy fur and the way he snuggles into you is a feeling of instant love. It is one of those feelings that you experience so seldom, that immediate and unconditional sensation of devotion, can life be any better?
Night falls on the first day, your tuck your buddle of joy into his new bed, you’ve specially found after hours searching the internet and asking all manner of professional advice. Hopping into your own you feel blissful, alive and content. Just as the sandman begins to do his work. Oh, my goodness what is that? The blood curdling howl, the sharp piecing yelps the sounds of a little one crying. They all slice you open, prickle your skin and pull hard on your heart strings.
Surely this sweet innocent puppy can’t just transform into the spawn of Satan, like a Mogwai being feed after midnight a gremlin has awoken.
The first thing to understand is this behaviour is completely natural; and today we’re offering you some tips to help you and your puppy get through this challenging stage.
You’ve probably heard of crate training. We talked about it in “A NEW PUPPY’S FIRST NIGHT” There are lots of arguments for and against the practice. My experience shows that crate training, done correctly, positively and without any punishment attached is highly effective and secure for both the dog and the dog owner. Personally, I choose to crate my dogs for a number of reasons.
This type of question tends to come from owners of high energy breeds although the issue of hyperactivity is not isolated to working or high energy breeds alone. It is a complex question with a range of variables and the answer is just as complex. Changing or altering a dog’s behaviour requires a multifaceted approach. Additionally, the health, age, breed and the dogs pre-existing mental and emotional condition influence behaviour. It is not as simple as a “tired dog is a good dog”. Far too many owners are led to believe that when their dog is behaving in a manner that they don’t like, they just need to walk and exercise their dog more. Exercise doesn’t necessarily lead to a happier, more balanced and quiet dog.
It can be heartbreaking coming home to find your furniture pulled to bits, strewn over the deck or the cushions chewed with foam and fluff blowing in the wind. The other uncomfortable behaviour is excessive barking; and when dogs are barking and your not home it can cause stress between you and your neighbours.
There are a couple of ways to address these behaviours yourself before looking for professional assistance.
You want to look at the emotions behind the dog’s behaviour. Often the dog is bored, has excess energy or is acting out to ease internal frustrations.
In life there is a thing called opposition reflex. It’s a natural reflex to resist pressure. If I push you, you will automatically lean into this pressure to steady yourself. If I pull on your arm, you will pull back in the opposite direction.
When training your dog you can use opposition reflex to your benefit but it can also create problems in your training if you don’t understand it.
Think about the way you hold your lead. Do you put it around your wrist and then wrap it around your hand until you have some tension to feel like you have control of your dog? Yes? What you’ve just done is triggered your dogs opposition reflex and made your dog pull on the lead and given you less control.